Ross Sea Antarctic Odyssey

Antarctic Peninsula – Peter I Island – Ross Sea – Campbell Island

Aboard MV Ortelius

  • 32 days   13 Jan  – 14 Feb, 2017 Ushuaia – Bluff
  • 32 days   15 Feb – 17 Mar,  2017  Bluff – Ushuaia
  • Note: Both departures cross the International Date Line at 180 degrees longitude. As a result each voyage will gain or lose a day on the calendar, however both voyages remain 32 days in duration.

A true Discovery voyage including the southern Antarctic Peninsula, the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island, exploratory program along the outer fringes of the pack-ice in the Amundsen sea, Roald Amundsen’s starting point from where he gained access to the ice-shelf and finally reached the South Pole in 1911, sailing voyage in the Ross sea, the huts of British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott, Mc Murdo Station, the Dry Valleys and Macquarie Island – Welcome aboard one of the most spectacular expeditions on our planet! Helicopter transfers: During those voyages we will transfer our passengers ashore by zodiac. However, we will also operate our two helicopters if zodiacs can not be used. Potential candidates for helicopter transfers are Peter I Island, The Ross Ice-shelf, the Dry Valleys, Mc Murdo Station, Cape Evans (hut of Scott) and Cape Royds (hut of Shackleton). We plan on five helicopter based landings, but a specific amount of helicopter time can not be predicted. The use of helicopters is a great advantage and can support us in our goal to reach certain landing sites that are otherwise are virtually inaccessible. This is a true expedition and we operate our itinerary in the world’s most remote area, ruled by the forces of nature, weather and ice conditions. Conditions may change rapidly, having an impact on the helicopter operation and passengers should understand and accept this. Safety is our greatest concern and no compromises can be made. No guarantees can be given and no claims will be accepted. The vessel is equipped with two helicopters, but in the case that one helicopter is unable to fly due to for example a technical failure, the helicopter operation will cease or even be cancelled, due to the fact that one helicopter always needs to be supported by a second operational helicopter. No guarantees can be given and in no event will claims be accepted.

A typical itinerary is illustrated below. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.


Please note:  Bluff-Ushuaia voyage offers the same itinerary as Ushuaia-Bluff voyage, but in reverse.

Day 1: Ushuaia – In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.  Voyage OTL26 starts in Bluff, New Zealand and offers the same itinerary as described hereunder, but in reverse.

Day 2 – 3: At sea

Day 4: We arrive in the Antarctic Peninsula and sail in the early morning through the spectacular Lemaire Channel and land on Pléneau Island, where Elephant Seals haul-out on the beaches. Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls and South Polar Skuas are confirmed breeders. Pléneau Island was first charted by the French Antarctic Expedition of 1903-05 of Jean-Baptiste Charcot and was named after his expedition’s photographer Paul Pléneau. We will also visit Petermann Island with colonies of Adélie and Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Cormorants (Blue-eyed Shags). Petermann Island was named after the German geographer August Petermann who was a member of a German Expedition in 1873-74.

Day 5: Sailing south through the Penola Strait, we cross the Polar Circle and arrive at the Fish Islands. The small islands lying east of Flouder Island are called the Minnows, first charted by the British Graham Land Expedition (1934-37) of John Rymill. Detaille Island was discovered by the French expedition of Charcot (1903-05) and named for a share holder in the Magellan Whaling Company.  From 1956 till 1959, The British Antarctic Survey had their “Station W” located on Detaille Island. On both locations we may observe Adélie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags.

Day 6 – 7: Bellingshausen Sea, where we may see our first pack-ice.

Day 8: Peter I Island or in Norwegian Peter I Øy is an uninhabited volcanic island (19 kilometres long ) in the Bellingshausen Sea. It was discovered by Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1821 and was named after the Russian Tsar Peter I.  It is claimed by Norway and considered a territory by its own. It is sporadically visited by passenger vessels. On earlier landings made groups of Elephant Seals and colonies of Southern Fulmars and Cape Pigeons were spotted here.

Day 9 – 14: These days we sail through the Amundsen Sea along and through the outer fringes of the pack-ice, which – depending on ice-conditions – will give us glimpses of the Antarctic Continent, while we take advantage of the west-going Antarctic coastal current. The sailing along and through the ice is very lively, with sightings of single straggling Emperor Penguins, groups of seals on ice-floes, and also Orca’s and Minke Whales along the ice-edge, often accompanied by different species of fulmar petrels. If the sea-ice allows, we will try to land on Shephard Island in Marie Byrd Land among colonies of Chinstrap Penguins and South Polar Skua’s. Shephard Island was discovered by the US Antarctic Expeditions (USAS) of 1939-41 and was named after one of the promoters of this expedition: John Shephard.

Day 15: We approach the Ross Ice Shelf, a floating mass of land-ice, with a front of 30 meters high. We intend to offer a helicopter landing on the Ross Ice Shelf. In the Bay of Whales at the eastern side of the shelf, close to Roosevelt Island (named by the American aviator Richard E. Byrd in 1934 for President Franklin D. Roosevelt), Roald Amundsen gained access to the Shelf and ventured to the South Pole, where he finally arrived on 14 December 1911. For us it is perhaps a chance to climb on the shelf as well.

Day 16: Along the Ross Ice Shelf we sail to the west.

Day 17 – 21: In the Ross Sea we intend to visit Ross Island, guarded by Mount Erebus, Mount Terror and Mount Bird with all the famous spots which played such an important role in the dramatic British expeditions of the last century such as Cape Royds with the cabin of Ernest Shackleton. We also intend to visit Cape Evans with the cabin of Robert Falcon Scott; from Hut Point Scott and his men set out for the South Pole. We will further make attempts to visit the US-station McMurdo and Scott Base (New Zealand). If ice and weather conditions are favourable, we will use the helicopters to offer landings.  From Castle Rock we will have a great view across the Ross Ice Shelf toward the South Pole. We will have a view into Taylor Valley, one of the Dry Valleys, where on our planet you are closest to the conditions on Mars. For the Dry Valleys we plan to use our helicopters. This is just one example of helicopter use during this epic voyage.

Day 22 – 23: Sailing northward along the eastern west coast of the Ross Sea ,we pass by the Drygalski Ice Tongue and the Italian Station in Terra Nova Bay and further Cape Hallet.

Day 24: Cape Adare is the place where people for the very first time wintered on the Antarctic Continent. The hut where the Norwegian Borchgrevink stayed in 1899, is surrounded by the largest colony of Adélie Penguins in the World.

Day 25: At sea, working our way through the sea-ice at the entrance of the Ross Sea.

Day 26: We sail along Scott Island.

Day 27 – 29: At sea.

Day 30: Campbell Island is a sub-Antarctic New Zealand Reserve and  an Unesco World Heritage Site, with a luxuriant and blooming vegetation. The fauna on Campbell Island is fantastic with a large and easily accessible colony of Southern Royal Albatrosses on the main island and breeding  Wandering, Campbell, Greyheaded, Blackbrowed, and Lightmantled Sooty Albatrosses on the satellite islands. Also three penguin species, Eastern Rockhopper, Erect-Crested and Yellow-Eyed Penguins breed here. In the 18th century seals were hunted to extinction, but Elephant Seals, Fur Seals and Sea Lions have recovered.

Day 31: At sea.

Day 32: We arrive in Bluff (New Zealand) where passengers depart for their homebound journey.

Bluff – Ushuaia voyage offers the same itinerary as described above, but in reverse.

This is a typical itinerary. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.




Landings at the Sub Antarctic Islands are by permit only as administered by the Government of New Zealand. No landings are permitted at Snares Is. Circumstances may be encountered during our voyage which will make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. These circumstances include poor weather and opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed during the voyage.




Dates & Cost

  • MV Ortelius – 32 days   13 Jan – 14 Feb 2017 Ushuaia – Bluff
  • MV Ortelius – 32 days  15 Feb – 17 Mar 2017 Bluff – Ushuaia
Quad Porthole Triple Porthole Twin Porthole Twin Window Twin Deluxe
US$25,700 US$27,900 US$32,750 US$33,850 US$35,550


Superior – US$37,300

Sole occupancy: All cabins 1.7 times the share price.


 What’s included

• Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
• All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
• Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes aboard ‘Plancius’.
• Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
• All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
• Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
• All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
• Comprehensive pre-departure material.

We are able to organise pre and post excursions and accommodation as required. Please contact us for further details.

What’s not included

Any airfare whether on scheduled or charter flights; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

It is agreed that if fuel prices will exceed US Dollar 120 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure Oceanwide Expeditions reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US Dollar 25 per passenger per night, to be paid by the contracting party of Oceanwide Expeditions.

How to book

To initiate your reservation, please contact us as soon as possible to place an option on the voyage and cabin grade of your choice. The Booking Form is to be signed, completed and returned to Adventure Associates along with your deposit. Reservations are established only when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit payment and Booking Form.

ZodiacPeopleCampbellIslandScenic Ortelius_©_Oceanwide_ExpeditionsPlease note that all dates and rates are subject to change.

MV Ortelius

Ice-strengthened Vessel

The ice-strengthened vessel “Ortelius” is an excellent vessel for Polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica, providing us with possibilities to adventure remote locations such as the Ross Sea and Franz Josef Land.

Ortelius” was built in Gdynia, Poland in 1989, was named “Marina Svetaeva”, and served as a special purpose vessel for the Russian Academy of Science. The vessel is re-flagged and renamed “Ortelius”. As Plancius, Ortelius was a Dutch / Flemish cartographer. Abraham Ortelius (1527 – 1598) published the first modern world atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum or Theatre of the World in 1570. At that time, the atlas was the most expensive book ever printed.

The vessel has the highest ice-class notation (UL1 equivalent to 1A) and is therefore very suitable to navigate in solid one-year sea ice and loose multi-year pack ice. “Ortelius” is a great expedition vessel for 100 passengers with lots of open-deck spaces and a very large bridge which is accessible to the passengers. The vessel is manned by 34 highly experienced Russian nautical crew, 15 international catering staff, including stewardesses, 6 expedition staff (1 expedition leader and 5 guides/lecturers) and 1 doctor.

Ortelius” offers a comfortable hotel standard, with two restaurants, a bar/lecture room and a sauna. Our voyages are primarily developed to offer our passengers a quality exploratory wildlife program, trying to spend as much time ashore as possible. As the number of passengers is limited to approximately 100 on the “Ortelius”, flexibility assures maximum wildlife opportunities. “Ortelius” carries 11 zodiacs of which 9 are in use and 2 on reserve. The zodiac engines are 60hp Yamaha.

On selected voyages, helicopters are also used for ice reconnaissance and for passenger shore excursions.

Deck Plans

Ortelius Deckplan NEW_dd_03-01-2014


A considerable number of quadruple and twin cabins with shared facilities (toilet and showers to be shared in the corridors) offer attractive lower starting prices for our Polar voyages. The vessel offers basic but comfortable cabins and public spaces.

The cabin lay-out is as follows: 5 quadruple cabins with bunk beds and shared facilities (these can also be used as triple or twin cabins); 14 twin cabins with 2 lower single berths and shared facilities; 9 twin cabins with portholes, private toilet and shower and 2 single lower berths; 10 twin cabins with windows, private toilet and shower and 2 single lower berths; 6 superior cabins with double beds, private toilet and shower and a separate day room, and 1 suite with a double bed, private toilet and shower and a separate day room. All cabins are spacious outside cabins with a minimum of two portholes or windows per cabin.






Suite Sitting Room
Suite Sitting Room

Ship Specifications

Crew: 34
Guests: 100
Length: 91.25 m
Breadth: 17.61 m
Draft: 5.8 m
Ice Class: UL1 (equal to 1A)
Propulsion: 6 ZL 40/48 Sulzer
Cruising Speed: 12 knots
Registered: In the Netherlands by Oceanwide Expeditions